Witches’ late-game rally stuns Sir Bills, 6-5

JOHNSTOWN – The Johnstown lacrosse team held a three-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter, but a late rally by Greenwich made winners of the Witches and sent the Sir Bills home in disbelief Thursday.

Johnstown (2-3) seemed to have Greenwich’s number all game, but a penalty-ridden final frame doomed the Sir Bills. Playing a man down on defense for a large chunk of the quarter, Johnstown was outshot 9-3 and outscored 4-0 by the Witches. With the score knotted at five apiece, Hayden Stalter flicked the game-winner past Johnstown goalie Zack Simone with just 0.7 seconds remaining in regulation.

The game had a defensive feel from the very beginning. David Fahr got a shot off for Johnstown early in the first quarter but Greenwich didn’t take their first rip until the 6:28 mark. Just over a minute later, Austin Brand found Marshall Manchester for a goal that put Johnstown up 1-0. Soon after, Greenwich’s Glenn Taylor evened the score.

Goal-scoring opportunities were few and far between for both teams in the first half. The squads exchanged off-target shots throughout the second quarter to no avail. Greenwich’s best chance came with less than a minute remaining when Garrett Carrega tossed one off the post. Finally, with 17 seconds on the clock, Fahr beat Greenwich goalie Adam Thomas to put the Sir Bills up 2-1 entering halftime.

After a slow first half, Johnstown found the scoring knack in the third. Jeremiah Robinson struck for the first goal of the quarter and Fahr took a feed from Brand and found the back of the net less than 30 seconds later. Denny Dauphin found open space in front of Simone and scored midway through for Greenwich, but Fahr completed a hat-trick when he tore through the Witches’ defense for a goal to extend Johnstown’s lead to 5-2.

“I like how we’re slowly learning how to have patience and discipline on offense,” Johnstown head coach Scott Petrie said. “This team is improving every single day and that’s a great thing to see.”

Greenwich dominated possession for the first half of the fourth quarter but struggled to break through. After Johnstown’s Ethan Hale was called for a series of penalties with less than seven minutes remaining, the Sir Bills started to unravel. Taylor took advantage with two quick goals during Hale’s absence and Jack Pemrick added one to tie the game at five.

The Sir Bills didn’t get their first shot of the quarter off until the 1:35 mark. With time winding down, Greenwich ran a play that culminated in the game-winning goal for Stalter.

“We spent the whole fourth quarter in the penalty box,” Petrie said. “We need to understand times and points of games and how to play, and today we just didn’t do it. It’s all a learning process. We’re going to learn from this, so that’s the biggest thing.”

The loss was Johnstown’s second straight and their first at home. The Sir Bills will look to right the ship when they host Notre Dame (Utica) on Saturday.

Greenwich 6, Johnstown 5

Greenwich1 0 1 4 – 6

Johnstown1 1 3 0 – 5

Greenwich: Taylor 3, Dauphin, Pemrick, Stalter

Johnstown: Fahr 3, Manchester, Robinson